I am so excited to finally share our experience buying our house! As you guys know from following along on Instagram we had a very exciting and nerve-wracking experience. We worked with REALTOR® Charlotte Pierce and bless her heart, she was SO accommodating to our needs, wants, and extreme time pressure. Honestly, the experience was so fun, Justin and I were excited to go “hang out” with Charlotte for a couple hours every night looking at potential houses.
Charlotte reached out to me on Instagram after I posted a photo of a really cool looking house in Saint Andrews, with a caption explaining things I would love in my dream home. She suggested we work together to actually find our dream home!! At that point we really weren’t in the mindset of leaving our condo Uptown, but, after seeing a few houses on the REALTOR.ca website that were on the market, we got really excited about all the possibilities. We had renovated the condo a lot, and to the point where I was happy with the design choices and ready for another project. After looking at a few houses on REALTOR.ca, Justin got really excited about having more outdoor space, and a garage to work in. I was excited about the potential some of these houses held for redesign. It wasn’t long before we decided to take the leap, sell our condo and look for a new perfect-for-us place.
We sold our condo very quickly and unexpectedly and suddenly were faced with the task of finding a new place to live. Time was running out, and we were feeling the pressure! Charlotte took us to see over 24 houses in the Saint John area. We were looking for something that was cool, not cookie-cutter, was inspiring, had a studio space for me to work in, had a garage for Justin, and had resale potential.
Buying a house
We seriously could not have found our house without our buying agent Charlotte. We were in and out of SO many houses in such a short period of time trying to find our perfect flip. She was so organized in scheduling our viewings, and working some magic on some properties we thought were out of the question. She was a life saver. She worked hard to help us find a place that worked for us and she always helped keep us from panicking when we were worried we would be homeless. With only two weeks left before closing on the condo, we still had no place to live!!! In the end, she saved the day with a house that had just come on the market. We looked at it on REALTOR.ca and immediately knew we wanted to go walk through it. One day after it was listed, we got in to see it, and put an offer in the day after that. Our house was only on the market for a few days! Charlotte handled all of the negotiation and expedited the entire process to close on the same date as our condo. The process could not have gone any smoother and we moved in the day of both of our closing days. In the end, it felt like it was meant to be!
There are a few things that no one explains when you’re buying a house. Some came as a surprise to us and some were way easier than we thought! I wish I had a step-by-step process before we decided to buy, so I thought I would share the steps with you!
1. Deciding to buy
This is obviously a huge step in the buying process. We weren’t even sure we wanted to buy until we saw some of the houses on the market. This is where the website REALTOR.ca is so amazing because you can view properties from anywhere with their mobile-friendly site and really start to imagine yourself in them. We started seeing the possibilities of some of the houses and it made us so excited. It was like a new adventure but not far away! We loved the idea of having a yard for Mason to play in and a new project for us to work on.
2. Talk to your bank
Before you fall in love with a house that’s way out of your price range, you’ll want to check in with your bank. If you are a first time home buyer, you’ll want to know how much you can get approved for. Your bank or a mortgage broker can give you all of this information. Then, you have a solid price range to work with from there.
3. Finding your buying agent
I would really encourage anyone looking to buy to work with a Realtor. We were lucky because Charlotte found us and I’m so glad! We had an immediate connection, which is so important! We are so happy with how everything happened and we have gained a close friend throughout the whole process. You can find a buying agent by looking them up in your area HERE or asking friends and family. We needed someone who was easy to get a hold of and quick on her feet (Lol) and Charlotte totally delivered. Most times you will need someone to show you really deliberate and focused houses. Though it’s fun to look at all kinds of houses, you don’t want to waste your time with houses you both know won’t work.
Viewings are so fun!! Justin and I knew what we wanted, but didn’t care so much about the location, which was an interesting approach. A lot of buyers know exactly which location they want to move into, but become flexible on the house. We were the opposite! We knew we wanted a somewhat quirky house that we could turn into a design dream, and in a good location for resale. We loved the idea of moving into a house that was empty (given our fast approaching closing date), but that wasn’t a deal breaker. We hoped to find a house that didn’t need all new windows, a new roof, etc., because we wanted to focus our redesign on the fun stuff, like a new kitchen and bathrooms! We viewed so many cool houses and seeing tons of houses really gave us perspective on what people look for when they are buying (so we could consider it for our own flip). Bedrooms are important, layout is important and, to me, good light was really, really important. I was looking for a bright house with lots of natural light.
5. Making an offer
I remember the first time Charlotte asked, “Are you ready to make an offer?” and Justin and I looked at each other and both were thinking the same thing: this just got real. Hahaha it felt intense but the process really wasn’t hard. Charlotte talked us through the paperwork and it was really simple! And, in the end, they either accept, counter, or reject. And if they counter offer or reject, you can always re-offer! This took off some of the stress. Keeping it all in perspective helps too - if it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be!! With the house we have now, we knew that it had other offers and that scared us. We were days away from being homeless, we LOVED this house, it ticked every single box on our list, AND it was empty!!!!! With Charlotte’s advice, we made an offer above asking price and it was accepted the next day! In most cases, 1-2 months is normal for a closing date, but every situation is different. We needed a closing date in 2 weeks and thankfully Charlotte was able to make that happen for us. We still laugh about how if it hadn’t been for our Realtor, we would be living in a hotel right now instead of our dream flip home.
6. Steps after acceptance
When your offer is accepted, you’ll then need a financing letter from your bank. This can be done by making an appointment with your bank and letting them know what’s going on and what your status is. Next step is to book your home inspection. Your Realtor can recommend one or you or your family may know someone. Though it’s optional, we had a water test and a septic tank inspection done, too. Once all of these are scheduled and cleared, you are almost good to go! There is one final walkthrough on the day of your closing to make sure that nothing crazy happened in the meantime! After our walkthrough, Charlotte handed us our keys and I cried from all the emotions! Lol, we were so excited to start this next chapter in our lives!
Honestly this process was SO fun from start to finish (and sometimes a little anxiety-inducing too!), that I actually can’t wait to do it again once this house is flipped and we are ready to find our next home to redesign. I loved seeing the insides of so many beautiful and inspiring houses and cannot wait to see what homes are available on REALTOR.ca once we are finished this one.
Keep following along with our Home Series and definitely check out the progress so far and the before photos of the entire house! If you are thinking about buying a house work with a REALTOR® to find your dream home! If you live in the Saint John area, make sure you contact Charlotte Pierce ;)
This post was sponsored by REALTOR.ca